HOUSTON – Sept. 25, 2019 – Spring ISD officially opened its new professional development center, TeachUp Spring Learning Center, on Monday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony that attracted dozens and earned recognition from area lawmakers.
“We’re very pleased to be here today for this special milestone event, which is really a celebration of our educators for whom this building was designed,” said Chief of Staff Dr. Julie Hill in welcoming the audience to the renovated facility at 15651 North Freeway.
Monday’s special event was held in spite of a heavy rain storm that knocked power out to the TeachUp Spring building. But that last minute glitch didn’t spoil the enthusiasm among those who braved the weather to attend, including Spring ISD Trustees Chris Bell, Jana Gonzales, Dr. Deborah Jensen, Justine Durant and Winford Adams Jr.
“When we heard from the administration that they wanted to dedicate an entire building to professional development, we knew that was a bold idea and a big commitment of resources,” said Board Vice President Jana Gonzales. “This facility is already proving to be a great investment.”
Specifically, TeachUp Spring has become a hub for teacher-focused professional development since it began hosting trainings in June. The district purchased the former ITT building in 2017 and then hired the architectural firm of Smith & Co to reimagine the space into a place where educators can practice and hone their craft.
One of the most significant new features of the building is the pair of state-of-the-art simulation classrooms. The two rooms – modeled after Spring ISD primary and secondary classrooms – offer an opportunity for practice and coaching in a realistic environment, right down to the modular desks and classroom furniture. A two-way mirror separates each simulation classroom from an adjacent observation room, complete with a microphone-and-earpiece system allowing instructors in the observation room to offer real-time coaching during classroom simulations.
“We have put a lot of emphasis on our Springway routines, and we’re already seeing how our teachers have internalized those practices and used them to create a rigorous and engaging learning experience for our students,” said Spring ISD Superintendent Rodney E. Watson.
Those who attended Monday’s event got an opportunity to see first-hand some of those Springway routines in action with student volunteers who participated in a simulation after the formal ribbon cutting.
“By providing a safe place for our teachers to learn and grow, we’ve given them an opportunity to really stretch and take risks in an environment that’s safe prior to going back to their classrooms,” Watson said.
U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee and Harris County Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis each sent proclamations in support of the new facility.